CVM lawmakers will look to fortify oversight in public & private entities

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star

Legislative delegates from the Citizens Victory Movement (CVM) said Monday that strengthening efforts to maintain oversight in public and private entities that provide services to constituents will be the road to follow for the second legislative session, which starts in August.

During a press conference where the party reviewed the legislation its members filed in the session that ended June 30, CVM lawmakers confirmed that they will continue to pursue investigation, analysis and reporting on issues that concern labor affairs, human rights, adequate access to essential services and zero discrimination.

“The oversight route, without a doubt, we must carry on and never lower our guard,” said CVM Senate Spokesperson Ana Irma Rivera Lassén.

Rivera Lassén, who also chairs the Senate Human Rights and Labor Affairs Committee, said she would continue to work with other legislators and delegations in creating legislation with a common purpose.

“This shows that we want to give importance to different topics, independently if we are the only ones filing a piece of legislation,” she said. “It sends an important message to our constituents.”

Moreover, Rivera Lassén said, chairing a committee has allowed the party to boost communication efforts with the other CVM members in the Legislature.

“Communication has been fundamental, which allowed us to work with the now Dignified Retirement Law; the minimum wage legislation, which remains under [debate] in the lower chamber; and the Labor Reform -- three topics that matter to us the most and were impossible to work on alone,” she said. “This is not about egos, this is not about being superstars; this is about working together and fulfilling the goals we have in the CVM.”

CVM House Spokesperson Mariana Nogales Molinelli said meanwhile that the other steps for the minority party to follow are to “question and change things that were always done the same way.”

“What I said before reflects part of our work as a delegation,” she said. “For example, why did a resolution on legislative donations pass without knowing the distribution or the non-governmental organizations that would access these funds?”

“The answer we got is ‘because it was always done this way,’ that ‘it was not the first time resolutions like this have been passed,’” Nogales Molinelli added. “No sir, it should not be done that way, we must do these processes in a timely fashion with an exhaustive evaluation of who gets the money, how it has been used and what benefits this brings to our society.”

Alternate Senate Spokesperson Rafael Bernabe Riefkohl said that, as a minority delegation in the Legislature, the CVM will seek “to push positions that we deem correct.”

“If many decisions depended on CVM, if it depended on only us, the debt audit bill would have passed, a better Labor Reform would have passed, a higher minimum wage would have come into effect, a University Reform would have passed, along with other necessary bills,” he said. “But as the Legislature is set up, we can propose, but not arrange because if the parties who obtained more votes don’t open up to pass these bills, they either get denied or delayed.”

“That is why we urge islanders to continue taking to the streets to continue demanding improvements,” Bernabe Riefkohl added. “If we were to take action against something like the LUMA Energy contract, we must perform both legislative action and mobilizations. If we want the public debt to be audited, it must be because we insist.”

Alternate House Spokesperson José Bernardo Márquez said “CVM has fulfilled a role to elevate standards on public policies in our country,” adding that what’s next for other lawmakers is to adopt positions for the greater good.

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